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Graphic Design Boss | How To Run A Thriving Graphic Design Business

This blog has moved to www.stevefogg.com

Thanks so much for visiting Graphic Design Boss. I’m doing very little design work at the moment and have scaled down my graphic design business because I am now in a full time job.

I am now blogging about branding, marketing, communications and all things digital. Come and say hi, you’ll also get a chance to meet the REAL me over at  www.stevefogg.com 

I still love all things design but I feel it is disingenuous to blog about running my own business now I am working for someone else.

Don’t forget to come and say hi at my other blog www.stevefogg.com 














How To Get Through The Tough Times When Your Clients Leave

I’ve been very quiet on the blog front. Truth told – I’m tired. It’s been a massive 6 months for me professionally and personally.

My graphic design blog seems to have been one of the casualties in the onslaught of work and family life. To all my readers a big apology. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to blog, I feel like I have so much to share, but not the time or the energy to do it in – at the moment.

This tough season has made me reflect on where I am at in my life especially professionally. I lost my biggest client during this season.

Really. Tough. Continue Reading…

Is This The Most Powerful Iconic Logo Of All Time?

Cross, Crucifix

Is this the most powerful iconic logo in history?

I’ve been around the graphic design scene for many years. Logo’s have come and gone. Been revised, refreshed and made over.

There is one ‘logo’ that I’ve seen that has never really changed. It has been around for nearly two thousand years – although not as a logo per se, but rather as a symbol of what a movement of people believed in. Continue Reading…

Interview With Ken Cato

Interview with Ken Cato

Who would you love to interview?

Now here is an interview I wish I had done, but I thought I would share the link with you anyway.

Ken Cato is a doyen and legend of the Australian Graphic Design industry. He has designed some of the most well-known brands in Australia including the Commonwealth Bank and Network Seven logos to name a few. He has a reputation for been very single-minded and focussed about good design, which honestly is a great thing.

I once went for an interview for a Senior Designer position with Cato Purnell. I was chuffed at just getting the interview, my folio however was a little too corporate for the type of work that they created. But I was just happy to get beyond the letter of application stage. One of the techniques I used was a strategy I believe every designer can use to get an interview.

Continue Reading…

Free Giveaway: From Passion To Profit

1st giveaway on graphic design boss

1st giveaway on Graphic Design Boss

My friend Preston Lee (See yesterday’s interview) from GraphicDesignBlender.com has kindly given me not one but two free passes to his new course, which I’m passing onto you.

The course is all about turning your passion for good design into a steady profit you can live off.

The lesson’s include:

  • Lesson 1: Making the mental commitment
  • Lesson 2: Naming your design business and other important details
  • Lesson 3: Making your first piece of profit
  • Lesson 4: Finding clients to fuel your business
  • Lesson 5: Project management tips to boost productivity
  • Lesson 6: Setting and reaching goals
  • Lesson 7: Finance secrets your accountant doesn’t want you to know
  • Lesson 8: Staying current on your design skills
  • Lesson 9: Finding steady profit through passive income
  • Lesson 10: Dealing with growth and hiring people
  • Lesson 11: Continuing successfully for the rest of your career

Seriously, who wouldn’t want to know more about this topic “Finding clients to fuel your business”. It also comes with an E-book. You can see more details about the course here. It’s simple. Doesn’t take up lots of my time. Brilliant! I’m in.

Here are three simple steps for your chance to win one of the two giveaway of “From Passion to Profit” Continue Reading…

Interview With Preston Lee

Interview With Preston Lee from Graphic Design Blender

It’s a real honour to interview Preston Lee today. If you don’t know already, Preston is the curator of Graphic Design Blender. Preston has been very generous to me since I started blogging about design a few months ago. He kindly let write a guest post about 10 Extremely Easy Ways To Find & Win New Design Business. Preston’s generosity is amazing and doesn”t stop there.  Check out the giveaway at the bottom of this post. Before you do that, here is the interview with Preston.

Please tell us about yourself.

I’m Preston Lee, I am a 24-year-old web designer and internet marketer currently living in the Western U.S. I have always loved to design, but especially love web design and programming and blogging about design. I have always had a passion for entrepreneurship and I blog about running a successful design business (something I have been doing for three years now) at GraphicDesignBlender.com. I am married to the most amazing woman and we have an adorable 6-month-old baby boy. I love life, music, God, my family, and anthing with chocolate in it.

Why did you start your own design business?

When I was a sophomore studying at a University, I got a graphic and web design internship at a local production house and I hated it. The experience was one of the worst in my life and it taught me how NOT to run a design business. From there, I decided I wanted to take advantage of all the opportunities my ex-bosses were not and so I started freelancing full-time while I finished my schooling.

What did you do to prepare to go out on your own?

The most helpful thing I ever did to prepare was work somewhere that I thought was run poorly.  But no matter how much you prepare, you’ll still be caught off guard by a lot of things when you DO make the plunge to start your own design business. It’s all about taking that leap of faith and just doing it!

What prompted you start Graphic Design Blender?

As you may know, Graphic Design Blender is the best place for designers to find business tips. It’s the perfect “blend” of business and design. And while the name of the blog isn’t killer, the content definitely is. I started GDB as an experiment because I enjoyed reading design blogs and wanted to see what this blogging thing was all about.

It wasn’t until later, that I realized I really enjoyed teaching other designers the secrets of entrepreneurship that I had learned. I loved helping designers be successful.

Curiosity motivated me to start the blog, but seeing designers succeed every day due to the content we provide is what motivates me every day I post.

What has most surprised you about the blog?

I am surprised at the positive reception the blog has had. All I do is share tips and tricks that have helped me be successful. People must like it, because they keep coming back.

Has your blog impacted your business?

My blog has completely impacted my business. It brings in enough extra cash that I don’t have to scrimp and scrape up the worst kinds of clients. It allows me to only seek out the best clients. The blog doesn’t really bring me many clients since it’s targeted more toward designers than clients.

What are the most simplest/most underestimated ways to find new clients?

The most underestimated way to find new clients, in my opinion, is cold-calling. There are a lot of people out there who haven’t hired a web designer or graphic designer just because they don’t understand why they need one.

If you’re hurting for clients and have little marketing money, call local companies and offer to make their print or web marketing materials stand out from the competition.

After you do this a few times and make a difference for people’s businesses, you’ll begin to take advantage of the most simple way of finding clients (to answer the first part of your question) which is word of mouth.

The best way to get new clients is to let others recommend you. So do a good job because people will talk about you–it could be good or it could be bad.

What is the best lesson you’ve ever learnt in running your own business?

Can I give two answers on this one? One of the most important lessons (and subsequently, if you’ll allow a small plug here, this is the very first lesson in my new upcoming premiere email course “From Passion to Profit” talks about this very thing…) is to get your mind in the right place.

I don’t want to spoil it too much, but it’s all about thinking of design as a business instead of a hobby or a passion. You can still enjoy it, but you need to think about finances, numbers, goals, etc. if you are going to be successful.

The second lesson I have learned is running a design business is much less stressful if you find sources of passive income. If you can create a steady stream of income that requires little management, you’ll be able to survive during times of client famine.

What advice would you give to someone considering starting their own design business?

Be ready to work hard. Oh, and read GraphicDesignBlender.com. ha ha. But seriously, I would also suggest they find some great mentors (I’m always happy to talk with designers via email) who can help them supplement their design skills with entrepreneurial skills.

Who is your most inspiring person/designer/blogger?

That’s a hard one. Chris Spooner (who now makes his living almost entirely from his design blogs) inspired me to start my first (now non-existent) blog a long time ago. Darren Rowse from ProBlogger.net inspires me to keep moving forward. And I have to say, all the designers who I interact with frequently at GraphicDesignBlender.com inspire me. I’m constantly learning from them and getting great ideas on running a successful design business from the comments they share and posts they submit.

Favourite productivity tool or software and why?

Google Docs. Because I love Google and I love Free Stuff. I coordinate with clients using Google Calendars, do my finances with Google Spreadsheets, Get customer feedback with Google Forms, Brainstorm with Google word documents.

What do you love doing outside of design?

Mostly hanging out with my wife and baby boy. But I also admit I am a reality TV junkie as of late. I love shows like America’s Next Great Restaurant, and The Shark Tank. I think it’s the entrepreneur inside of me. I’m actually a marketing professional by trade so a lot of my time is spent at work.

What is your favourite piece of work you’ve designed and why?

My favorite thing was a touchscreen display because it’s the only one I have ever designed. It was a very refreshing experience.

What would be your dream design job and why?

I would love to design facebook apps all day long. Because I am half designer and half web marketer.

Mac or PC?

Definitely Mac. But not in a fanboi hater way. I just like Apple Computers.

You’ve recently released a short course to help aspiring designers, helping their passion become a profit, can you tell us a bit more about it?

Thanks for the chance to plug the course. I’ve been blogging for a long time now about running a successful design business and I’ve been saving up some of my best tips in, you guessed it, a google doc.

After I gathered up a few of these top secrets, I decided I would offer them as premium content for Graphic Design Blender readers. It’s only available to designers who are really dedicated to making something out of their design business!

The premium email course “From Passion to Profit” was born.

It’s 11 days of secret-packed lessons delivered right to your inbox for less than a couple dollars a day. In fact, if you sign up before May 1, you can get 20% off which makes it only $15 or so.

I’m really excited about it and have lots of designers sign up already.

I hope to offer lots of premium email courses that are designed to help designers succeed. Stay tuned!

Preston, thanks for your time, and all of what you’ve written on your blog. You’ve made a huge difference for thousands of designers around the world – including me. I would highly recommend you read Preston’s blog, Graphic Design Blender or see his work on his personal blog. Here is one recent bit of work Preston did. You can also get more tips on Twitter.

Come back tomorrow to get a chance to WIN The premium email course “From Passion to Profit

The Interview is posted every Wednesday. If you know anyone who would be good to interview drop a comment below and I’ll follow them up. Check out my previous interviews with Todd Motto and Dennis Salvatier.

Five Client Billing Tips That Will Catapult Your Profitability Out Of This World

Is your design business stalled on the launchpad?

Is your design business stalled on the launchpad?

I’ve heard this complaint over and over again from graphic designers around the world. “I’m not making enough money. I need more clients.” Here’s the issue. Are you maximising the profitability of your existing clients? In this post I’ll share some extraordinary simple tips that will send your profitability soaring into an orbit you never knew existed.

Now your B.S.-ometer might be rising right now, please forgive the hyperbole but let me tell you over the years I’ve implemented every one of these billing disciplines into my fee structure and it has made my design business really profitable.  Continue Reading…

Finish This Sentence “Before I die I want to design…”

What do you want to design before you die?

What do you want to design before you die?

Read this brilliant post from Creative Review today. We all have hopes, dreams about our life.  This post made me think about what I dream about and hope for.

Thought it would be a great idea to apply the same principle but for designers. Continue Reading…

Interview With Dennis Salvatier

 Interview with Dennis Salvatier

One of the great things about the internet is that I’ve met so many fabulous and generous people. Dennis Salvatier is one of those people who just makes you feel so welcome. Since I started my blog he has been a constant vocal source of encouragement. Today it’s an absolute pleasure to take some time and talk to Dennis and find out a bit more about what makes him tick. Continue Reading…

How I Got My First Full Time Graphic Design Job

Awards help you go further, faster

Did you know that Yellow Pencils can help you get your first design job?

Since starting blogging about design I’ve noticed there are in many very young designers who actually are a long way from even considering running their own business. I’ve also realised that I haven’t actually shared with you how I got started out in design. Here is a bit of my journey of how I started and how I broke through and got my first design job.

I emigrated from England to Australia in 1992. I arrived in Melbourne with no family and no friends. I had one small thing going for me, my fiancé’s family was based in Melbourne. This post isn’t a definitive ‘how to’ to get a design job in a new country. All I can do is share with you what worked for me at the time in the early nineties. I’ll also share what I’ve seen around the world today that will help you get your foot through the door to get that crucial interview. Continue Reading…

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